The Complex is a game that grows on you over the course of its hour-long runtime. Much like the nanocells it revolves around, the game gets off to a slow start before ramping up the tension and putting you in the middle of a world-ending conflict. Its acting leaves a bit to be desired, but for those seeking an interactive game with plenty of replay value, The Complex is definitely worth a few hours of your time.
The latest title from Wales Interactive is yet another FMV game. For those not familiar with the genre, it's one that relies on pre-recorded videos to unravel the story. You're essentially watching a feature-length film, with critical choices thrown your way at various times. Do you choose to investigate that weird sound down the hall, or do you continue bandaging your wounded colleague? Should you follow your shady ex-boyfriend, or get straight to work in the lab? Most choices carry significant weight in The Complex, but there are a few that exist to show you not everything is in your control – no matter your choice, someone else will step in and take the reins.
For the most part, The Complex is a well-executed game – and film. The beginning of it suffers from some stilted acting and awkwardly written dialog, but dramatically picks up as the story starts to come together. In fact, when I first started playing, I wasn't sure I was going to be interested enough to play through it more than once – the acting was off putting, the narrative was slow, and on a lot of occasions the scenes don't blend together well, making it clear the camera stopped rolling before picking up again. By the end of the game, however, I was ready and willing to dive back into the world of Kindarian conflict.
The fun of the game is derived from its story and seeing how your choices impact the world around you, so I'll avoid any major spoilers. In a nutshell, you're thrown into the shoes of Dr. Amy Tenant, a scientist working to perfect nanocell technology – a technology that will give humans the ability to heal themselves from the inside out. Replace lost blood, heal bones – nanocells promise to usher in a new era of healthcare. They're also critical to the space race, as nation's will no longer need to ship heavy medical supplies throughout the solar system. Instead, astronauts can receive a nanocell injection, turning their bodies in natural hospitals. However, something goes horribly wrong with the research, and now it's up to Dr. Tenant to figure out what's gone awry.
There are several twists along the way – many of which you'll never see coming. Some are more impactful than others, but they're always a result of your choices in the heat of the moment. In fact, the endings I've stumbled upon so far are radically different from each other, making The Complex a game more than worthy of several playthroughs. Working through the action is much faster on your second go-round, as you can skip through any scenes you've already viewed. In fact, it only took me about 15 minutes to get through a second viewing, compared to about an hour my first time.
Beyond altering the outcome of the game, your actions change how your fellow cast feels towards Dr. Tenant. There's a detailed Stats menu that tracks your relationship level with each character, along with a breakdown of your personality traits based on choices you've made. My first time through, these didn't have much bearing on my playstyle – I simply picked the option that I felt was best in the moment. Now, however, I'm constantly tracking these values, seeing how choices impact the people around me. It's a simple feature but, if you get invested in the world of The Complex, it's a fun mechanic that helps you discover new scenes and engage with the cast in fun new ways.
Despite a slow start, The Complex blossoms into a fun game full of unexpected twists and turns. There's some poor acting scattered throughout – you really get the sense this is a low-budget SyFy flick – and the janky transition between scenes is a bit jarring, but overall there's a lot of fun to be had in the terrifying world pieced together by Wales Interactive. Allowing players to skip previously unlocked scenes is a boon for its replayability and, with hundreds of unique scenarios to work through, you're bound to discover something new every time.